I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doing versus Being

                 by Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

After posting on Mary and Martha a while back, I received several emails and comments pointing out that if it weren’t for the Martha’s of the world, nothing would ever get done. I agree and admit what I didn't then: This passage bothered me at one time, because I’m not just Pat. I’m a Martha as well.

So, let’s ponder the words and see if it has to come down to a choice of being versus doing.

What did Martha do that was so wrong? After all, Jesus tells us through James that faith without works is dead. So, I’m wondering here, if Martha hadn’t made lunch, what would Jesus have eaten? If food needed to be prepared, why does He tell Martha that her sister has chosen the better thing?

Maybe it’s because Martha was distracted, troubled and worried. What was she distracted by? Her many tasks. In the Greek, these words are translations of the word diakonia, which is usually translated as service or ministry. It also refers to table or domestic duties. I believe Martha had the gifts of hospitality and service and viewed these tasks as a ministry to others. But, she’d gotten so caught up in serving, that she’d created distance from Jesus. She had lost the attitude of worship.

I mean, her best friend Jesus was in the room!

And sadly her focus was on other things.

Don’t we do that? We get up and think I’ll do my quiet time later. Only later never comes. And then when the day comes at us fast, we don’t have a reservoir to draw from. That’s the key to combining Martha’s doing with Mary’s being. Spend quality time with Jesus every morning. Let him refresh you and fill you with His Spirit.

Do you have any suggestions for finding time with Him? Oh, and check out an old favorite of mine, I Miss My Time With You.

Pat Trainum

I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write.


  1. A great reminder, Pat. Thanks!

  2. You're welcome, Teri. For me too. It's so easy to jump right into whatever project I'm working on and get busy and before I know it, the day is over.

  3. Thanks, Cheryl. So glad you stopped by.

  4. This hits the nail on the head so well--smooth, not crooked or sticking out of the wall needing a 2nd hammer blow. I started well today, rdg. my devotion book & several Bible chaps., but got distracted before end. Will get back to it now. Thanks & blessings.

  5. Hi, Dee. I've made 2 starts and stops today. It's the world we live in. lol Glad you liked my post.

  6. That makes sense, Pat. Good post, and good reminder!

  7. Great post, Pat. One of the books I enjoy using as part of my quiet time with the Lord is, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. And you're so right, He needs to come first and it's easy to become distracted by anything else.

  8. Pat, this is a great post and reminder to keep my priorities in their proper order in my days. On days like today, when I took the kids to school 4 1/2 hours ago and just walked in the door from running errands, I don't get my time with Jesus in the morning. But I've determined that I will spend time with Him before I begin writing or another project. This helps me make sure I have my time with my best friend.

  9. So identified with this. I have to MAKE myself spend time in prayer, study every morning.

    I've even been learning how to bring my kids into this on the weekends. I choose 2 songs that last about 5-6 mins and we worship to them.

    I usually have my little raise their hands to Jesus for 1 min while singing. Talk about a change in our lives. They used to fight me on going to the alter to worship during worship time now they smile and follow.

    That only took 6 weeks of diligence to help them change their hearts for it. This exercise has made all the difference in our lives.

    I've been healed twice at the alter while worshiping WITHOUT even asking God to heal me. He just did it!

  10. Thanks, Jenness.
    And Paula, I read Jesus Calling every morning! This is my 3rd year and I have the Jesus Calling Journal and I can look back over the past 2 years and see exactly what was going on that day. I just love that devotional.

  11. Oh, Jeanne, I know how hard it is some mornings. I'm trying to get into the habit of writing from 5-6:30, then talk with my Mom and then spend the next hour in the Word (and Jesus Calling) and pray. The days I skip the last, NOTHING goes right. I feel frustrated all day long.

  12. Ginger, what a great thing to teach your children.

  13. Great perspective, Pat. I believe that in all things, Christ is after our hearts and not our hands. What was Martha's heart condition? Was she stressed, worried, angry? Yes, the work needed to get done, but was she bitter about it? As I go through my household chores, cleaning up toys, sticky finger prints and baby diapers, where is my heart? My work isn't a sacrifice unto the Lord if I'm doing it with a grudge - it's a sacrifice if I am laying it before Him with a heart humbled and submitted to His service.

  14. Oh, so true Gabrielle! And I think Martha may have been dealing with a little pride as well, maybe.

  15. I love this post, since I see a lot of Martha in me, too.

    May I offer a second perspective?

    What if the Mary/Martha thing isn't an either or choice but a matter of priority?

    I know Martha's work is necessary. So is cleaning up after church dinners.

    I love doing dishes, so my husband and I are unofficial designated dish washers after church dinners. A necessary job if ever there was one. I look at it as service and it is... when kept in its proper place.

    But to get up from the table as soon as I'm finished eating to start the work? That is not service if I've left a conversation and fellowship with those around me. I've chosen dirty dishes over fellowship. That is not service, it's escape. I just didn't realize it until my husband said something to me.

    So perhaps Martha's problems were worry and fretting, but also a failure to prioritize.

    Just a thought.

  16. Carrie, your husband is so wise. And so are you to realize what he said is true. And it does boil down to priorities. I think we get so caught up in the doing, that we forget why we're doing our service. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Had a conversation about Mary and Martha last week, so their priorities--my priorities--have been on my mind. Don't you love when God makes you pay attention by repeating the lesson? Thanks for the reminder!